Under the direction of former General Manager Kenny Williams, the Chicago White Sox developed a reputation for using young, unproven, controllable talent in order to obtain older, “proven,” expensive players. This strategy has not continued since Rick Hahn took over the reigns, and the waiver claim of former Blue Jays’ outfielder Moises Sierra provides an excellent example of the paradigm shift.
As an unproven commodity that oozes potential but hasn’t proven much of anything at the highest level, Sierra is a player that Williams would have avoided. Hahn, on the other hand, seems to be putting some stock in having the opportunity to obtain players who could become great for a low cost. In Sierra’s case, the only cost was a roster spot. Will the 25-year old OF become an MLB regular, or more? This is still open for debate. If he does, Hahn will look like a very smart man.
The philosophy often lost in discussions of Moneyball, namely procuring the most talent for the least cost, can lead a team to great success. The Athletics have been a perennial regular-season stalwart under Billy Beane’s guidance because he has the ability to recognize under-appreciated corners of the MLB talent market and exploit them. If Rick Hahn shows a continued propensity to do the very same thing, the White Sox will be in an excellent position for success for many years to come.